WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine today announced $350,000 in federal funding for Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME) in Richmond to support fair housing. The funding was awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program. Supplemental funding for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program was included in the American Rescue Plan , supported by Senators Warner and Kaine.
“Too many Virginians are denied equal housing opportunities because of illegal discrimination,” said Senator Kaine. “As a former fair housing attorney, I’ve seen how housing impacts a family’s health and financial well-being. I’m glad this funding will help HOME ensure more Virginians have access to safe and affordable housing.”
“Discriminatory practices should never prevent Virginians from accessing affordable and fair housing opportunities,” said Senator Warner. “I am glad to see these funds go towards providing HOME with the resources needed to help more Virginians in need.”
Specifically, HOME will use the funding for virtual fair housing workshops and enforcement-related activities. HOME will also hold a Fair Housing Pandemic Roundtable and conduct interviews with Virginians who have been evicted or displaced during the pandemic.
As a former fair housing attorney, Kaine represented Virginians who were denied housing due to discrimination. His first case as a lawyer was referred by HOME, and he subsequently worked with the organization on dozens of other cases.
Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to increase affordable housing and homeownership. In September 2021, Warner and Kaine introduced the Low-Income First Time Homebuyers (LIFT) Act, which would establish a new program to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers – predominately Americans of color – by offering new homeowners a 20-year mortgage for roughly the same monthly payment as a traditional 30-year loan. In October 2021, Warner and Kaine also joined their colleagues in introducing the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021, which would provide federal grants to assist first-generation homebuyers with qualifying expenses toward purchasing their first home, including downpayment costs, closing costs, and costs to reduce the rates of interest.